Post 56:
And now for some random Little House on the Prairie dirt!

Post 56:  And now for some random Little House on the Prairie dirt!

Pilfered from one of those irresistible click-bait articles! I found these delicious “Behind-the-scenes secrets all Little House on the Prairie fans will want to know” — or perhaps wish they’d never found out.

(Ed. Note – from Tracy – “My corneas are burning!” was one such reaction from me after reading some of these.)

Still. Had to share:

Actress Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) Passed Out From Heat Exhaustion On Set

The women wore the traditional 1800’s styles, including stockings, petticoats, pinafores, and bonnets. The temperatures would range from the 90s to the 100s at the California ranch where the show was filmed, which made for a very warm workday. Both Alison Arngrim and an assistant director passed out on the first day of filming.

The Crew Went Through Two Cases Of Coors A Day While Filming.

The crew and actors were known to indulge in beer and Wild Turkey on set while the younger actors napped during breaks.

(From Tracy – Two cases of beer for how many people? That doesn’t seem like a lot to me. Two kegs? Now I’m impressed.)

(From Anne – “Little Souse on the Prairie” is an accurate description)

Alison Arngrim And Actor Steve Tracy, Who Played Her Husband Percival, Would Openly Make Out Just To Disgust Melissa Gilbert.

Young Melissa Gilbert hated seeing co-stars Alison and Steve open-mouth kiss during their scenes. So, of course, they made sure to do it as often as possible.

(From Tracy – This cracks me up because Steve Tracy was gay and great friends with Allison. They must have laughed their asses off. Then the poor guy later died of AIDS.)

(From Anne – Check out the look on Doc Baker’s face in this wedding pic. Too bad it was too soon to have an openly gay character on the show)

 

Melissa Gilbert Ended Her Friendship With Michael Landon Following His Real-Life Divorce.

The Laura Ingalls actress had become close with actor Michael Landon’s wife and kids while filming Little House on the Prairie. She quit associating with him after he divorced his wife when his affair with an on-set makeup artist went public.

 

Alison Arngrim’s Broken Arm Was Real In The “Bunny” Episode.

Alison Arngrim had a real cast on after breaking her wrist skateboarding. Her screams in the scene were also real as a crew member claimed the safety rope, which was holding her wheelchair as Melissa Gilbert pushed her down a slope, had snapped.

(From Tracy – Allison was a California girl for sure! Around this time I really scabbed up my knees trying to be cool on a cousin’s skateboard.)

(From Anne – My pal Carol and I did a lot of skateboarding down the gently descending court we lived on. It’s worth hurting yourself for. But, wow, what a way to get Alison to do some method acting: telling her the safety rope had snapped)

 

Michael Landon Loved To Show Off His Body In More Ways Than One.

Michael Landon, aka Charles “Pa” Ingalls, was pretty ripped and liked to appear shirtless on camera (just like he did on Bonanza). Whenever his character suffered an injury, it was usually a broken rib as opposed to an arm or something, and off came his shirt. Also, rumor has it he went commando under his prairie pants.

(From Tracy – I just . . . ugh . . . can’t.)

(From Anne – The suspenders ruin it for me.)

 

Michael Landon Wore Four-Inch Lifts In His Boots.

The 5’ 9” actor didn’t want any to stand taller than him on the show. His “swagger” while filming Little House on the Prairie is due to these special boots.

 

Actor Sean Penn Got His Start On The Show.

A then 13-year-old Sean Penn made his acting debut on the series in the episode “The Voice of Tinker Jones” when his dad, director Leo Penn, cast him in a small role.

 

The Simi Valley Ranch Set May Have Been Contaminated With Radioactive Waste

Sadly, six of the actors and crew members got cancer, and most of them died from it. This includes Michael Landon who died of pancreatic cancer, Victor French (Isaiah Edwards) of lung cancer, Merlin Olsen (Jonathan Garvey) of mesothelioma, and Kevin Hagen (Doc Baker) of esophageal cancer. Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) is a breast cancer survivor. It was never proven, but many suspect that it was because of the chemical and radioactive contamination that was disposed near the set until the 1980s.

(From Tracy – This one just blows my mind! Didn’t they see “The Day After” like I did? Apparently, a worse accident than Three-Mile Island happened here in 1960.)

(From Anne – So much for the purity of the prairie. They should have all been wearing gas masks under their sunbonnets.)

 

Rachel And Sidney Bush Played The Part Of Carrie Ingalls At Just Age Three.

Due to California law regarding minors, the director had to rotate the twins out every few hours. It’s said he would call for a “fresh” twin before shooting some scenes.

 

Actor Michael Landon (Charles Ingalls) Dyed His Hair For The Role.

Actor Michael Landon went prematurely grey in his 20s, and started dying his hair using Clairol Medium Ash Brown while starring in Bonanza. He continued this practice until a professional was needed to step in and help with the dye jobs. It’s said his hair would fade under the California sun into a lavender color while filming Little House on the Prairie.

(From Tracy – Sounds pretty!)

(From Anne – Wow, he was metrosexual, on the prairie).

 

All The Food In The Dinner Scenes Was Dinty Moore Beef Stew.

Except for the times Ma made fried chicken — that was Kentucky Fried Chicken.

(From Tracy – Oh man, this one really bums me out. The food always looks really nummy!)

(From Anne – They should have tried to sneak in Beanie Weenies once in a while).

 

Nellie Oleson And Laura Ingalls Were Really Best Friends.


The young actresses had sleepovers and were best of friends despite Melissa Gilbert “punching” out Alison Arngrim’s character throughout the series.

(From Tracy – Wonderous!)

(From Anne – What is this ad advertising? Pre-teen awkwardness?)

 

Actress Melissa Sue Anderson’s Mother Was Overprotective On Set.

Because of this, the other actors reported nobody ever became friends with Melissa Sue, who played Mary Ingalls, during filming.

 

Michael Landon Asked Karen Grassle To Change Her Name When She Auditioned.

The actor requested the actress who played Caroline Ingalls to change her name back to her real name, Karen Grassle. She auditioned under her stage name, Gabriel Tree.

(From Tracy – Good call Mr. Landon.)

(From Anne – A pretentious stage name if I’ve ever heard one.)

 

A Memo Was Sent Out Saying Melissa Gilbert And Dean Butler Didn’t Have Believable Chemistry On Set.

Because of 15-year-old Melissa Gilbert’s nervousness about the kissing scenes, the production staff was concerned the lack of chemistry between Laura Ingalls and her new husband would be apparent to viewers.

(From Tracy –Because, duh, boys are gross! Until they’re suddenly not gross. Actually I was so excited about this kiss. I thought it looked good.)

(From Anne – What kind of chemistry did the producers have in mind? Having the characters tear one another’s clothes off?)

 

An Old-Fashioned Curling Iron Heated In An Oven Was Used To Achieve Nellie Oleson’s Curls.

Hairdressers used old-fashioned curls and curling iron to “torturously” style actress Alison Angrim’s hair into the perfect curls of Nellie Oleson.

 

After A Few Episodes, They Decided To Use A Wig To Give Alison Angrim Perfect Curls, But It Made Her Scalp Bleed.

 

Poor actress Alison Angrim went through a lot to make her role as Nellie Oleson seem authentic. After dealing with the old-fashioned curling iron, the crew decided to use a wig to style the actress’s hair. The wig was held into place with metal combs and pins that cut into Alison’s scalp.

 

Melissa Gilbert Dated Some Big Stars.

Melissa Gilbert wasn’t much like her alter-ego with the buckteeth, bonnet and braids. She had a bit of a wild streak when she grew up, and dated a who’s who of Hollywood hunks. She was briefly engaged to actor Rob Lowe (she claims she miscarried his baby after he dumped her), and also hooked up with Tom Cruise, Scott Baio, and Michael Landon Jr. She later married actors Bo Brinkman, Bruce Boxleitner, and current husband Timothy Busfield.

(From Tracy – She wore a flaming red gown for the wedding to Busfield. Go M Go! Also, what’s up with the B’s?)

(From Anne – Scott Baio? Glad she didn’t stick with him. Also glad she didn’t get sucked into Scientology with Cruise.)

 

Melissa Sue Anderson Also Dated Some Big Stars.

Melissa Sue Anderson dated Lorenzo Lamas, Timothy Hutton and Frank Sinatra Jr. at different points in time. She was offered the lead role in The Blue Lagoon but turned it down. She continued to have an acting career throughout the 1980s and 90s, and her last known credit was for a film called Marco Polo in 2007.

(From Tracy – I don’t even want to do the math on her and Frank Jr. That one makes me somewhat ill. Where was her overprotective mother then? And she turned down “The Blue Lagoon” ?!?!? Brooke should send her a Christmas card every year.)

 (From Anne – Lorenzo Lamas – he was the himbo Olivia Newton-John dated in Grease.)

 

Melissa Gilbert Learned How To Drive A Stagecoach

 

Melissa Gilbert Had To Hide Her Curves.

The producers wanted character Laura Ingalls to appear more youthful, so they had Melissa bind her chest to hide her curves.

 

The actor who played Willie Oleson— Jonathan Gilbert— is Melissa Gilbert’s adopted brother.

 

Michael Landon Used Old ‘Bonanza’ Scripts For ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Episodes.

Michael Landon, who starred in both Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie, used several of the same scripts for both series. Bonanza’s “A Matter of Circumstance” episode was “A Matter of Faith” on Little House.

(From Tracy – Recycling is good. Right Anne?)

(From Anne – Sure, especially if you’re in a hurry.)

 

Alison Arngrim Was Rejected For Two Roles Before Landing The Part Of Nellie

Alison first auditioned for the part of Laura Ingalls before being rejected. She then attempted to gain the role of Mary, but was once again denied. She finally landed the role of antagonist Nellie.

(Ed. Note – from Tracy – I can’t imagine her as Mary. Mary is a big enough bitch as it is!)

 

They Included The Demolition Of The Set Into The Last Episode.

In the final episode of the series, the town of Walnut Grove was destroyed— literally.

There are a lot of theories about why they did this so if you’re curious read this fine article.

(From Tracy – Also maybe it was done to keep people from continuing to work near the nuclear waste?)

(From Anne – That would have been considerate. Also, sounds like cows wanted the land back for grazing. Drama king Michael Landon … just call him the Walnut Grove Bomber.)

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